Pearl Harbor Invitational: Seton Hall grinds out 60-57 résumé win over Cal

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Seton Hall rode 16 points and 12 rebounds from Angel Delgado along with strong defense down the stretch to muscle a 60-57 résumé-padding victory away from California.

Horrendous free throw shooting (9-of-20) along with a mid-game offensive drought nearly crippled the Hall, but they relied on strong defense from guys like Madison Jones and Ish Sanogo to hold Cal back after trailing by six early in the second period.

“The defense was good,” said Kevin Willard on the FOX Sports post-game show. ” We just have to get back to Newark and work on our free throws, because that’s really what is killing us right now.”

Both teams started well offensively with California striking first before a 7-0 run from Seton Hall that was spearheaded by Khadeen Carrington (14 pts, 4 asts), who leveled the field.

The Pirates warmed up and maintained a shooting percentage above 60-percent for the opening 13 minutes before the wheels fell off for the closing seven. Seton Hall scored just four points over the remainder, a stretch that featured settling for a lot of jump shots and just one field goal.

Ish Sanogo and Mike Nzei did a good job on Ivan Rabb (8 pts, 8 rebs), but it was Jabari Bird (22 pts, 9 rebs) who led all scorers and helped out Charlie Moore (12 pts) after the freshman kept Cal in the game early on.

Within five points of each other for the first 20+ minutes, the Golden Bears pushed the envelope in the midst of a Seton Hall offensive drought that saw only seven points scored over 10+ minutes of game clock.

Trailing 40-34 early in the second half after coming out of a Kevin Willard timeout intended to circle the wagons, the Pirates brought themselves from the brink and disrupted Cal by drawing 3+ fouls on four starters early in the second half including an early fourth on Ivan Rabb.

The Pirates equalized at 45 heading into the under-12 timeout after a smooth Carrington triple to spark a 7-0 run was coupled with some strong defensive stops.

Leading 56-51 coming out of the under-four with four fouls attributed to six players, Seton Hall again failed to score for over three minutes until a clutch Angel Delgado bucket with under a minute to play, but they held the fort defensively even after giving up a full court bucket while huddled up.

A frantic closing minute or two also feature Seton Hall splitting a pair of trips to the line, which nearly cost them a potential résumé win.

Three thoughts

Defense won this game. Madison Jones and Ish Sanogo only had a collective four steals, but it felt like more. Both registered a ton of deflections and Sanogo was all over Rabb along with Mike Nzei for stretches. Cal looked like they were rattled a bit offensively after Charlie Moore cooled off and Rabb wasn’t at 100-percent; Jabari Bird did not show any signs of rust after missing several games.

This was a hard-fought resume win. Seton Hall dug deep and held Cal to just 4 points over a 7-minute span in the second half when the Pirates took their first lead that they would never relinquish for the final 9:44. This is now the Hall’s best win; a chance to double up against ranked South Carolina looms.

Sanogo took a forearm to the face, Rabb was playing with a sprained hand, and five starters picked up four fouls before the final media timeout, which speaks to the physicality and nature this game had.

Seton Hall left points on the board by continuing a two-game stretch of woeful free throw shooting (21-45, 44%). The missed freebies were masked by an offensively unsustainable start which featured mostly low percentage jump shots that weren’t assisted on; this eventually turned into two individual mid-game droughts that the Pirates had to overcome. A few days of practice instead of back-to-back games across the globe should help Willard’s guys prepare for South Carolina.

  • Andrew Herbst

    This was a really nice win. Will help our resume come March. We showed a lot of resiliency after being down 6 early in second half. Khadeem, Desi and Angel were outstanding once again. Jones played well also. Hopefully we can improve on our free throw shooting and build off this win. SC will be a great test Monday night at MSG. GO PIRATES

  • PadrePirate

    Agonizing win but a win. Once healthy Cal will stay top 50. Best win so far since Iowa has faded. Florida and Stanford will turn out to be respectable losses.

    Waiting to hear some diagnosis on our offensive woes from those who saw the game. Just a few days to rest and work out before facing SC.

    • Andrew Herbst

      We didn’t shoot well from 3 or have a lot of assists. Thank goodness for Delgado. Hopefully we shoot better against SC.

      • Powell picking up 4 fouls early in the second half did not help the shooting cause. Team finished 3-11, but I believe they were 3-7 at one point, FWIW

        • Andrew Herbst

          I think our free throw shooting will get better going forward

  • Matty P

    Glad to hear that Willard was calling plays and yelling at his players to throw the ball down low to Delgado. He’s started to show a variety of moves that he can use to score that he didn’t have last year. If he can continue to improve on finding the open man when the double comes it’s going to be hard to stop him on the offensive end. My only fear would be that it becomes a hack a Delgado if he has trouble improving his foul shooting.

    • PadrePirate

      Good point. It’s certainly going to encourage opp teams to play Angel more physically. They can always send in Rasheed types to absorb PFs when their frontline guy is on bench.

      If Angel (and the team for that matter) could just shoot 60-70%, we’d be fine, but this 40-50% just won’t cut it. KW finally taking notice.

      • Matty P

        Glad that Willard is taking notice and making mention of it. Hopefully when the team gets back today instead of a full practice it will be film and FT shooting practice. They’ve got enough baskets in the gym to get each starter their own to practice on.

    • Thanks for bringing this up. As noted on the broadcast, SH was not able to feed Angel for a long stretch, not a coincidence this caused an offensive drought. You can bet the Big East will gameplan for this if Stanford, Cal, etc. are already doing it.

      • Matty P

        Agreed I think it definitely feeds into the offensive droughts when they don’t get Delgado the ball. Those offensive droughts seem to be a lot of stagnant one on one basketball instead of trying to create easier shots.

      • hallstorm

        I think it’s a no-brainer to have Nzei/Sonogo set high (fouline) screens for Delgado and roll to the basket. There should be 8-9 plays like this a game: it forces teams to either double Delgado up high (in which he can feed one of our PF’s down low) or if they don’t double him, he can back his man down. I’m guessing 90% of the time teams will double Delgado. I would work on his ability to see everyone else on the court.

  • PadrePirate

    If I’m KW, I’d fly Canyon Berry in from Florida to teach our boys how to shoot FTs under handed. The guy hits 80-90% for the season.

  • PadrePirate

    Note on FT’s: top 50 teams shoot over 75%, league best at 85%, worst 55%. The Hall currently sits at 315 out of 350, at 62% on the year.

    Individually, there are starters like Billy Garrett Jr 94% and Jared Sina 92% who have missed two FTs on the year, and some guys still shooting 100% after 8-9 games.

    • I always found it remarkable that someone like KC can cross a defender over twice then hit a jumper from 18 feet fading away with a hand in his face, but shoot FTs at a 50-60% clip.

      • Matty P

        To me his FT shooting has been surprising this year. The past two years he’s shot FTs at a 75% rate, which isn’t amazing but much better than most of the team. For him to be shooting it at 53%, which is lower than his 3Pt% makes me wonder if it’s a lack of focus, not settling down a little before the shots, or just fatigue from the amount of effort he needs to help carry this team offensively and to a point defensively this year.

  • Some KenPom stats post-Cal:

    Seton Hall – 45th
    A/FGM ratio – 338th
    FT% – 327th,
    % of points from 3 – 324th
    % of points from 2 – 14th

    • PadrePirate

      Ugly assist rate. Where does that come from? Don’t want to bag only MJ, because it’s a team problem, but how can a PG who only takes a couple of shots a game have so few assists? I would guess that IW had many more dimes last year, while still putting up 20 shots p/gm

    • Fishjam

      These are brutal offensive statistics. The FT issues are pandemic and the only one I am confident in right now is Powell. Willard needs to try a different approach bc it’s mostly a concentration/consistency issue and will cost us games.

      There is no excuse for a college team at any level to shoot under 50% consistently.

      Angel is the biggest problem and it seems so correctable. Raf made a good point in the Hawaii game that Angel has good form but often pauses just before releasing FTs and jump shots. When he bends his knees and releases his shots in one continuous motion, he connects at a high rate. However, when he overthinks things he has a slight hitch/pause at the top of his release which almost always results in a miss. It’s like he pauses to try to aim it in which never works. Just like a pitcher trying to throw strikes, you have to have a nice fluid motion and trust your mechanics.

  • Joe Schmoe

    Free throws are going to be the death of this team in conference play…what ever happened to “no one goes home from practice until you hit 100 in a row from the stripe”? do they not do that any more? Sub 50% from charity line is unacceptable…

  • fouline

    Free throws? How about not paying attention to the game and giving up 4 points? What’s going on Willie?

    • Joe Schmoe

      huh?

  • shufaninva

    Holy Lord..we need a great recruiting class in the next two years to maintain anything we are building. As I see it, we are not nearly as deep as we had hoped, but I know some help is on the way with JT.
    The truth is, we have a HUGE Sophomore problem. That group of Soph’s is mid-major talent at best. Nzei obviously is the best, but he redshirted so I don’t even want to include him. Soffer can’t make the court except in mop up time in non-conference. Singh still looks to me like he would be a decent to good mid major player, but not BE caliber. Miles Carter has continued to be a lost man, plus adding academic issues to his plate will only stress him out more. The entire group might end up being a wash. So if we are speaking in terms of long term program plans, we need another big recruiting class. FAB 5? I know that’s a longshot at best, never gonna happen at worst, but that Sophomore group is a pretty big swing and a miss so far.

    • Fishjam

      Unfortunately you are right. Really surprised Veer hasn’t done more but he appears to let his defensive struggles hurt his shooting. Shooting is all about confidence and he looks like he has none. He may be a player who won’t be able to contribute until he’s an upperclassman.

      Carter appears to lack maturity at this point so they don’t seem to trust him at all. Don’t know what the future holds for him. With Khadeen, Powell and Gordon ahead of him, Soffer won’t see any time.

      Cale will likely see some time behind Desi at the 3 next year and they may need to explore the transfer market for help at the 5/PF.

    • LBP

      Sadly , I agree shufaninva. Sophs are just not athletic. Veer has to work on his feet–way too slow and worse yet,not quick.

  • Fishjam

    The lack of assists and poor 3-point shooting are directly linked and due to our lack of penetration and ball movement.

    Our offense this year is meant to be about feeding Delgado and playing inside-out. But they don’t get it to Angel enough and when they do lately he’s been scoring so the ball isn’t coming back out.

    Too often the offense is Khadeen playing pick and roll but they always go over the screen or double him to prevent him from getting a good shot or penetrating. KC and Powell are our best 3-pt shooters but are playing together less often. KC is making a fair number of 3s but he so often has the ball in his hands he doesn’t get a lot of catch and shoot opportunities .

    Jones has to be able to penetrate more on offense then kick to open man or score if they are going to leave him open for mid-range or closer shots. Angel needs to get his hands on the ball more to draw doubles and pass out to perimeter. They should look to get Desi the ball on the right block where he can move to his left and shoot or pass back out.

    And if Veer keeps missing 3s, they need to use Powell in the corner more to get those open looks.

    It’s going to be very hard to win against good teams if 3s and FTs continue to be problems. Hopefully JT’s return will be a boost to the offense as he is supposed to be very adept at penetrating a defense which is exactly what we need. IW would cause defenses to collapse on him when he penetrated and he’d find teammates for wide open 3s or layups.

    • LBP

      Another good review Fishjam– I thought both Teams lost their legs after the frantic play in the first half–that,and that Gym, could not make 3s easy. I am hopeful that D. Thomas can help –but you are right, the ball has to move a lot more.Actually , and surprisingly, I am happy with this Team.

  • Matty P

    Nice to see that Iowa beat Iowa State tonight. Hopefully strengthens our out of conference schedule a little more.